by Robert Docter –
SAN DIEGO, CA – In a demonstration of great trust in The Salvation Army as an organization and in its ministry to the total person, philanthropist Joan B. Kroc bequeathed to the Army her entire residual estate, an amount in excess of one billion dollars.
The bequest is tightly restricted to the specific development throughout the nation of community centers similar to that designed and operated at The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in San Diego.
This flagship model, in operation for 18 months, was created through an earlier generous gift by Kroc in excess of $90 million dollars.
It now has a membership of approximately 7,000 individuals of all ages – from infants in child-care to seniors in the exercise pool. Wide-ranging programs lead to physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual growth and form a set of core values that foster good citizenship, positive self-esteem, high achievement and spiritual enlightenment.
During this past year, Commissioner Linda Bond, territorial commander for the Army in the West, had established a close, warm and friendly, personal relationship with Joan Kroc. After Bond was told the confidential news that Mrs. Kroc was terminally ill and wanted to speak to her, she phoned Mrs. Kroc, who asked her, “Will you speak at my memorial service?” Bond immediately agreed.
Following her death on October 12, 2003, Kroc’s lawyer asked Bond to meet with her trustees in San Diego. They advised her that Mrs. Kroc had requested that information concerning the amount of the bequest to The Salvation Army be conveyed to Bond personally, and that she share it with other Army leaders in the United States.
“I knew from her earlier gift that Joan Kroc trusted the Army, and then, on hearing the size of that trust as evidenced in this gift, I knew she also found us trustworthy. Of all the wonderful organizations in this world that are worthy and needy, she chose us,” Bond said.
An Army spokesperson stated that the total bequest is to be divided equally among the Army’s four U.S. Territories with half of the funds allocated for specific capital expenditures similar to the Ray and Joan Kroc Center in San Diego. The other half will be held in a restricted endowment for operating expenses incurred at each of the newly constructed centers. None of the funds from the bequest will be co-mingled with other Army income. Personnel at the San Diego Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center indicate that the endowment for that center is able to cover approximately one-third of the operating expenses. Army personnel have noted that communities will need to determine the means by which the additional funds for a Center’s operation will be achieved.
The Army’s National Commander, Commissioner Todd Bassett, announced the Joan Kroc gift in a press conference today in Washington D.C.